Mike Murphy writes about his adventures around the globe!
If you found some European countries to be expensive then keep away from Denmark. Due to their strong currency, you can end up paying a lot more than you would have wanted to. However, Denmark is a great country for seeing some thing a little different. I spent most of my time in Copenhagen, and it’s a great city for tourists with many things to see and do. Also there’s no problem with the languages if you are an English speaker, as almost every one speaks very good English, some thing that is integrated into the school system.
If you go to Copenhagen, you have to eat an ice cream; they are huge and taste great! – Its also one thing that Copenhagen is famous for. Copenhagen also has a brewery, the Danish monarchy is based there, and it has a rich history as a port; all of which is great to explore as a tourist.
During my time in the Czech Republic I spent most of it in Prague. But how I got there was a adventure in itself. Of course, there are many different ways and countries to travel into Prague. I came to Prague from Germany by train. Most people who do this trip take the quick and expensive German trains that go straight there.
However, being a little more adventurous, I found a very cheap rail ticket that used the slow trains. This turned out to be great for me as I got to see a lot of the German and Czech country side (untouched by tourism) which the fast trains missed completely by taking the faster route. Although the trip took a lot longer, it was defiantly rewarding in learning more about the Czech lifestyle. Outside of the city is also by no means the quiet area either, and some of the best clubs and restaurants can be found – with a great party atmosphere. The Czech Republic is a country with a rich east European history, very different from the west. It is certainly very interesting to explore and yet has all of the nice luxuries of home.
New Zealand, now famous from its Lord of the Rings success is crawling with tourists. As a New Zealand citizen, I have watched New Zealand change over time. It is a country with a strong political system, low unemployment, very good gender equality, a reasonable social welfare system, famous environment, low unemployment rate and so on. As a result, everyone wants to come to New Zealand. But what is there to see? The problem with New Zealand for tourists is how diverse it is. If you want to see ‘old’ New Zealand, then go to the South Island and check out the England style cities, rural farms, and Lord of the Ring Southern Alps.
On the other hand, if you want the cities and warm beaches, then North Island is the place to go. Unfortunately as the country is small and there are so many tourists, it’s hard to get of the tourist trail. However, New Zealanders are generally friendly, and getting to know one or two of them is not hard. If you get to know some New Zealanders ask them to show you around, and they may take you to some places which have not yet become commercialised my the tourism industry.
I spent about a year living in England, and my advice is short and simple for other New Zealanders, Australians, Americans, Canadians and South Africans. If you want to live in England to make English friends and learn about the English culture, then don’t live in London.
London is a safe-haven for all of those commonwealth and other English speaking related countries citizens who want a home away from home. It is impossible to go drinking in a bar, going to a club or doing anything else in London with out bumping into someone else from your own country, and most likely an old friend you went to high school with.
London would probably have to be the best city apart from your home-town that you could have a school reunion at. The problem is with living in London, is that like it or not, it is almost impossible to completely break out of the home country network and become 100% emerged within the English life. Those living in England continue to have a safety blanket of a network of friends who they can rely upon for help. But hey, if that’s how you want to have your experience in England, then that’s fine, otherwise get out of London!
Germany is a complex country that tourists have perceptions of, some of which during my years living as a foreigner in Germany I have found to be true, and others self-generated and perpetuated by the tourists themselves. To find where these German stereotypes come from though are very interesting. Germany has a rich history that a great knowledge about extends back well into the times where Germany's states were independent. Generally speaking, this, combined with the political climate surrounding the first and second world wars (facism, socialism – for some - and democracy) has resulted in the German people having a unique political identity.
It is this background that has formed much of the stereotypes of Germans that are held by tourists. This, and too I guess, their central European position, surrounded with other European nation-states and often their culture being confused with their neighbours such as Austria and Switzerland. When coming to Germany, I would recommend learning about German history if you want to know more about the German culture – this will give you a good insight.
Having a holiday in Germany can be a lot of fun, easy to do, but perhaps a little expensive depending on what currency you bring into the country. Most tourists take refuge in one of Germany's finest products – beer. The Oktoberfest - famous for its drinking, is strangely enough held at the end of September, not October (so don’t miss it!), and is a great place to meet Englanders, South Africans, New Zealanders and Australians. However, don’t be surprised if you spend the whole day searching for Germans. Travelling around Germany is very easy. Germany has an excellent rail system, and one can travel very far very quickly (if they have the money), or can travel leisurely using one of the many discount prices that make train journeys very affordable and fun to do.
There is also a large range of other transportation services available. Finally, the prices in Germany can be a little on the steep side depending on where you are, they are not outrageous. Generally speaking, you will find the cheapest areas of Germany by keeping away from the cities and staying in the east. However, this is not necessarily where the action is. If you want a cheap European holiday, then it’s probably best to go to Poland or the Czech Republic. Germany is a nice, safe country for tourists to go, I definitely recommend going there.